The ongoing anarchy in Libya makes it “one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian,” according to a new report by Open Doors World Watch Research.
This month marks five years since Muammar Gaddafi’s government in Libya was overthrown when rebels stormed his compound and he went into hiding. However, despite high hopes, the ongoing anarchy in Libya makes it “one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian,” according to a new report by Open Doors World Watch Research.
“The anarchic political and security condition in contemporary Libya has created [an] environment conducive for radical Islamic groups to persecute Christians blatantly and violently with absolute impunity,” says the report, authored by Open Doors World Watch Research analyst Yonas Dembele.
The dangers of being a Christian in Libya – native or otherwise – are exacerbated by a growing climate of intolerance of faiths other than Islam, the report notes. “The persecution against Christians is not only being perpetrated by organised Islamic militant groups. Christians face harassment and persecution in their everyday life from ordinary Libyans as well,” it states.
Dembele adds that in a single incident, around 100 Egyptian Christians were arrested for allegedly proselytising, leading “some to argue that there is intent to ‘fully eliminate the presence of Christians.’”
“Any hope for an improvement for Christians is contingent upon the political and security condition in the country improving. Hopefully, the Unity Government formed in January 2016 will be able to assert more and more authority and restore law and order in the country. If this happens – even though it would not necessarily guarantee freedom of religion for Christians in Libya – such a state of affairs could help Christians become less vulnerable to the most egregious forms of persecution. However, in the long run, it will be the nature of the permanent political and constitutional order emerging from the current peace and transition process that will be the most decisive factor for the freedom of religion of Christians in Libya,” Dembele says in conclusion.
Libya is ranked #10 on the Open Doors 2016 World Watch List of places where Christian persecution is worst.